Now that Juan Soto has turned down a $440M ‘Hail Mary’ extension offer and the Washington Nationals are gearing up to trade him, the speculation and rumors are flying thick and fast.
Every team should be in on the young superstar, though he’s definitely too pricy for the cheapskates. But already, the big boys have been linked to him; the New York Yankees and Mets, as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, are just some of the names floating around.
One of the more outlandish trade proposals that emerged this week involved the Philadelphia Phillies.
Bryce Harper for Juan Soto.
Should the Phillies trade Bryce Harper for Juan Soto?
In a word, no.
The return for a player of Soto’s value is unprecedented; the team that gets him will be kissing a significant number of their top prospects goodbye. Still only 23 years old, he has two more years of arbitration before becoming a free agent, and this year, he commanded a record-setting $17M. The Nationals will demand a hefty haul in order to give him, especially since whichever team gets him gains an immediate advantage. It’s not hard to see the team that acquires him going full-send and inking him to a $500+M extension as soon as they get him, so that gives the Nationals even more power in trade talks.
At 29 years old and with a few injuries and a huge, lengthy contract, Harper wouldn’t be enough to tempt the Nationals on his own; after all, in this hypothetical situation, they’d be taking on the contract they didn’t want to give him four years ago. The Phillies would need to package him with prospects, weakening the farm they’ve only just begun to turn around.
Returning to the rebuilding team Harper left in 2019 wouldn’t make sense for him at all, and this proposal is really a non-starter, as his contract has a full no-trade clause. He’d have to agree to the trade, and it’s unfathomable that he would.
Above all, Harper chose the Phillies and has spoken ardently about his love for the city, its fans, and his goals for bringing a championship back to the city. There’s absolutely no way this trade happens.